Descent of the Demon Master
Kang Jin-Ho tilted his head.
“I was asking you if you wanted to drink something.”
“Oh, uh…” Lee Hyeon-Ju blinked her eyes in stupefaction before pinching her thigh really hard.
Kang Jin-Ho wasn ’t even asking her about something monumental, so why was she panicking so grandly like this? Then again, how could she not? The ’Kang Jin-Ho ’ in Lee Hyeon-Ju ’s head was definitely not capable of uttering those words, after all!
Indeed, threats like “wanna die?” or “If you don
’t cough up the information right now, I
’m gonna chop your head off and use your skull as a bowl to contain my booze!” would fit Kang Jin-Ho so much better.
Asking something as mundane as what to drink just didn ’t match the image of this man in her head.
The gap between the two was just too severe!
Kang Jin-Ho frowned a little.
“Don ’t you want to drink something?”
“M-macchiato…” Lee Hyeon-Ju muttered that out, only to curse herself for making her choice in a situation like this.
Wouldn ’t it have been fine to drink whatever? Why was she choosing what kind of coffee she would like to drink?!
Kang Jin-Ho wordlessly nodded, then got up.
However, that only made Lee Hyeon-Ju flinch nearly off her chair.
Kang Jin-Ho stared at her dazedly for a second or two, then frowned again.
“I ’m going to place the order, that ’s why.”
“…Oh.” Lee Hyeon-Ju
’s face went beet red in an instant.
Kang Jin-Ho left the table while shaking his head as if he couldn ’t understand her behavior.
She covered her face with her hands in embarrassment.
’Calm down, Lee Hyeon-Ju! ’
’t sure why she couldn
’t escape from her state of constant fluster.
Sure, Kang Jin-Ho ’s behavior was quite far removed from her mental image of him, but it felt like her fluster was mostly the result of her own overreaction.
Lee Hyeon-Ju shot up to her feet, then quickly rushed inside the bathroom.
While washing her hands with cold water, she felt her panicky mind finally slowing down a little.
A few splashes of water on her face were enough to bring composure back to her demeanor.
’Okay, calm down. ’
She inwardly told herself that while staring into the mirror.
’Hmm? Maybe I should ’ve worn some makeup? ’
She suddenly thought that her face looked a bit plain.
If only she knew how things would…
“…turn out, my foot!”
Lee Hyeon-Ju suddenly yelled at her reflection.
She had to have gone crazy! Maybe she really had gone crazy, after trying to deal with an unpredictable madman named Kang Jin-Ho!
She sucked in several deep breaths to calm her mind again, then exited the bathroom.
Kang Jin-Ho was already back by the table with the coffee.
Lee Hyeon-Ju bit her lower lip, then marched over there and promptly sat down on the opposite side.
The information you wanted.” She pushed the pile of documents on the corner of the table toward Kang Jin-Ho.
However, he didn
’t even glance at that.
“That’s not what I want.”
’m sorry?” Lee Hyeon-Ju narrowed her eyes.
Didn ’t he tell her to bring the information? So what was it this time?
Kang Jin-Ho clarified himself.
“It ’s not possible to learn about such a killer through written documents.
What I wanted to hear from you were ways to catch this bastard.”
“This may come across as a complacent remark, but…
In my opinion, the Fallen is targeting you.
If you wait, wouldn ’t the Fallen eventually show up in front of you?”
Kang Jin-Ho leaned his back against the chair and wordlessly stared at Lee Hyeon-Ju.
She hurriedly lowered her head after feeling like he was silently rebuking her for something.
Even if she wasn ’t sure what her guilt was this time.
Kang Jin-Ho eventually broke the silence.
“You might be correct.
However, two people have already lost their lives.
If we don ’t do something, more victims could appear.
Since the perpetrator is not someone the police can apprehend, shouldn ’t your people actively step up to deal with this situation?”
“…Normally, yes, you would be correct.
However, our situation lately doesn ’t give us a lot of leeways.”
’s eyes narrowed some more.
His eyes seemed to be saying, “What a bunch of useless trash,” and Lee Hyeon-Ju felt her shoulders shrink.
“If you think about it, other people will be put in harm
’s way because of me.
In that case, I can ’t let this go on anymore.
I do not wish to see more victims either, so I must catch that killer as soon as possible.
And I ’m asking you about the method to do that.”
“Oh…” Lee Hyeon-Ju nodded slowly after understanding Kang Jin-Ho
At the same time, she was beset with a massive sense of disharmony.
This Kang Jin-Ho was…
just too normal.
Lee Hyeon-Ju expected him to at least say something like, “I can ’t let a bastard intruding on my territory run around unchecked, after all! Kekeke!” However, Kang Jin-Ho ’s behavior for a while now was just so ’normal ’ that she couldn ’t quite get used to it.
Wasn ’t he the crazy guy who dragged her to the underground parking lot and shoved her against a pillar during their first meeting? Lee Hyeon-Ju was grateful that Kang Jin-Ho was acting ’normal ’ right now, but she still felt anxious as his new attitude made it so much harder to get used to him.
’He ’s definitely a psycho! ’
Saying that he had a dual personality didn
’t seem so adequate anymore.
Kang Jin-Ho could just carry on as he was, but Lee Hyeon-Ju was supposed to keep up with his pace, and his unpredictability made it so much harder to guess how she needed to tailor her response.
What a difficult problem this was.
Lee Hyeon-Ju muttered, “…I ’m gonna go crazy at this rate.”
“Mm? Did you say something?”
“…A-ah, no! It ’s nothing.” Lee Hyeon-Ju hurriedly covered her mouth, thinking, ‘I must ’ve lost my mind for real!’
She swam in the thoughts of embarrassment and dismay for a while before sobering up.
The light of determination was gleaming brightly in her eyes.
Now that she had reached this far, brazenly forging ahead could be an option for her.
“May I ask you a couple of questions?”
Kang Jin-Ho shrugged his shoulders.
“Fine by me.”
“You are a returner, yes?”
He neither confirmed nor denied it.
However, Lee Hyeon-Ju accepted his non-response as a yes.
’ll help you with apprehending the Fallen.
That will also be helping ourselves, after all.
However, I still need to know a few things first.
I do not wish to get involved with you anymore after the hunt is over, you see?”
Kang Jin-Ho wordlessly nodded back at her.
“Do you really have no ties or even passing connections to other returners or martial artists?”
“I ’ve been approached a few times before, but that ’s about it.”
’t seem willing to get involved in our side of the world.
Am I correct?”
“Yes, you are.”
That was as expected.
She had tried to forcibly rope in someone unwilling, so maybe she had no excuses for getting beaten up.
Lee Hyeon-Ju continued with her questioning, “Did you know the Martial Union is also aiming for your life?”
Kang Jin-Ho narrowed his eyes.
That ’s the Chinese martial organization.
Don ’t you know who they are?”
’ve heard of them before.
But it ’s my first time hearing about me being their target.”
“Haven ’t you run into one of their contractors earlier? Don ’t you remember Jin Bao?”
That was when Kang Jin-Ho
’s expression hardened a little.
“Martial Union, is it…?”
Lee Hyeon-Ju shivered involuntarily just then.
For a moment there, Kang Jin-Ho ’s glare resembled the one from last night while mouthing the name of Martial Union.
I don ’t think it ’s the case of dual personality. ’
That monster yesterday was Kang Jin-Ho, and so was this one sitting before her.
There was no clear boundary separating two different personalities, like in the case of a split personality disorder.
If she were to get more technical about it, then maybe, it was closer to the…
territory of hypocrisy?
Even though he was hiding a monstrous beast in his heart, Kang Jin-Ho was displaying his
’ side to other people.
That thought sent a deathly chill down her spine.
Just how calculating and cautious did he have to be to successfully hide his true nature?
A slight misunderstanding was developing here, but no one had a quick-fire way to fix the incorrect evaluation of others in their heads.
Even if that was Kang Jin-Ho.
“Could it be Wu Yuan…?” Kang Jin-Ho briefly recalled Wu Yuan
That martial artist told him about the Martial Union back then.
However, Kang Jin-Ho didn ’t even kill that man, so why did the Martial Union dispatch a hitman to Korea to take his life? This kind of response didn ’t make much sense to Kang Jin-Ho.
The folks back in Zhongyuan that tended to bang on and on about justice and righteousness would have come after him to settle the score.
However, trying to kill him over a matter like that still seemed too over-the-top, even by Zhongyuan ’s standards, where blood had to be repaid with more blood.
’I ’ll get to find out eventually. ’
Just as Kang Jin-Ho decided to focus on the current issue, Lee Hyeon-Ju suddenly raised her voice.
We believe we know the reason for the Yeongnam Group targeting you, Mister Kang Jin-Ho.
It ’s because of the Martial Union ’s master.”
“A serial killer, and a martial artist to boot…” Hwang Jeong-Hu held his head as if a migraine was haunting him.
“…Not one single peaceful day, huh?”
It hadn ’t been that long since Kang Jin-Ho ended his mandatory military service, yet every incident imaginable seemed to be happening around him.
Since he knew that Kang Jin-Ho wasn’t really the type to go around causing problems everywhere he went, Hwang Jeong-Hu began suspecting that he had a trouble-attracting magnet attached to his back or something.
“For now, the situation has been dealt with, more or less…” Jo Gyu-Min finished his report and sighed deeply.
Thanks to his diligent reporting over the years, Hwang Jeong-Hu willingly accepted the existence of
’martial artists,’ which, in turn, made it easy for Jo Gyu-Min to explain the situation.
Then again, Hwang Jeong-Hu already had some ideas about their existence, anyway.
“So, what did Jin-Ho say he ’ll do next?” Hwang Jeong-Hu asked while massaging his temples.
“Well, he said he ’d like to catch the bastard, sir.”
the serial killer? ”
Hwang Jeong-Hu wordlessly mouthed a cigarette.
He had a feeling that Kang Jin-Ho might respond that way, but hearing it from Jo Gyu-Min caused some level of anxiety to bloom in his mind.
“…What does he think the police are for?”
“…Sir, from what I ’ve observed so far, ’regular ’ cops won ’t even be able to lay a hand on the killer.”
Indeed, they should consider themselves lucky if the killer didn
’t beat them up to death.
Jo Gyu-Min finally understood why all those Wuxia novels talked about the imperial forces holding non-aggression pacts with gangho ’s people.
Well, one would probably need ten-plus lives to capture such crazy-powerful martial artists now, wouldn ’t they?! Even if pistols were allowed, Jo Gyu-Min would just throw the gun away and run for his life instead.
Jin-Ho won ’t listen even if I try to talk to him, anyway.
Bloody hell, why do I have to deal with a troublesome young man like him in my old days and go through this nonsense?” Hwang Jeong-Hu grumbled.
Despite his unhappy-sounding words, an amused expression was clearly etched on his face.
’He ’s definitely rejuvenated. ’
Jo Gyu-Min inwardly noted.
Aside from regaining his health thanks to Kang Jin-Ho ’s powers, Hwang Jeong-Hu had become far more active than even before he got sick.
Even his graying hair had regained a lot of its previous black color, too.
Some people were even suspecting that he had recently received stem cell injection treatments.
“So, that means Jin-Ho has decided to concentrate on that matter, then?”
That ’s why I was hoping to discuss something with you, sir.”
“Yes, sir.” Jo Gyu-Min gravely nodded.
“The truth be told, Mister Jin-Ho is finding himself more and more entangled with the other side, sir.
We ’ve been trying to find some kind of balance, but…
I must admit that I ’m feeling rather lost, sir.
I ’m not sure just how far I ’m supposed to assist Mister Jin-Ho.”
“…Mm? It seems you ’re worried about something unnecessary there.”
“Sir? I don ’t follow?” Jo Gyu-Min blinked his eyes in a daze.
Hwang Jeong-Hu tutted.
“They say you get more worrisome with age.
However, it ’s not me but you who has gotten older here, it seems.
After all, you ’re busy worrying yourself to death over something useless, aren ’t you? Tell me, don’t those martials have social lives? Do they have no need for money?”
I don ’t think that ’s the case, sir.”
Hwang Jeong-Hu tutted again.
“Since so many of such people managed to stay under the radar, it could only mean that they are putting on a facade of normalcy during their daily lives.
In that case, we only need to protect Kang Jin-Ho ’s day.”
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Hwang Jeong-Hu nodded briefly.
“We can ’t control Kang Jin-Ho during the night, anyway.
Nothing will change even if we ’re newly reminded of this fact.”
Jo Gyu-Min sucked in a deep breath and nodded in understanding.
Hwang Jeong-Hu took a deep drag of his cigarette.
“So, don ’t pay much attention to that side of things, Gyu-Min.”
“Sir, I think I understand what you mean.”
Jo Gyu-Min figured out what Hwang Jeong-Hu was telling him.
Even if he tried to pay attention, the world of martial artists and Kang Jin-Ho weren’t something he could easily understand, anyway.
In that case, it would be wiser to focus on the surface ’world ’ instead.
That was what Hwang Jeong-Hu was saying.
Rather than an order, this sounded more like considerate advice meant to lessen Jo Gyu-Min ’s turmoil.
’So, he does care about me…! ’
The important point about that advice was that it was meant for Jo Gyu-Min, rather than Kang Jin-Ho.
In other words, Hwang Jeong-Hu was worried about Jo Gyu-Min ’s welfare, not just Kang Jin-Ho ’s!
Powerful emotions welled up from deep within Jo Gyu-Min ’s heart.
“It seems you
’re too focused on unnecessary things, causing the really-important matter to grind to a halt, Gyu-Min.
Tell me, what ’s going on with the opening of the store? You haven ’t reported anything regarding that matter for the past two days.
Surely you ’re goofing off after doing your job?”
“I, uh… My apologies, sir.”
It seemed Jo Gyu-Min was deluding himself.
Hwang Jeong-Hu tutted loudly.
“Don ’t you have anything to report?”
“Sir, I ’ll finalize everything as soon as possible and report back to you on the progress.”
“Are you having a vacation or something at the company ’s expense?! Is that it?!” Hwang Jeong-Hu unhappily roared while slamming his palm on the armrest of his couch.
Jo Gyu-Min looked up at the ceiling as a depressed expression quickly filled his face.
Worried? Who was worried about him?
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